They told us Quiet is the New Loud in 2001. Now, the Kings of
Convenience are back with their Riot on an Empty Street. As the
title might suggest, the vibe hasn’t changed. The record
opens with ‘Homesick’, its fuzzy, layered vocals and
lilting guitar setting effectively the hazy tone for the rest of
the album. With the next track, ‘Misread’, we move swiftly from
a folk feel to the gentle groove of lounge music. After another
few tracks of sleepy introduction, the pace picks up and
‘I’d Rather Dance with You’, a lo-fi pop ditty
whose naively expressed sentiments cannot help but endear the
listener, provides a mid-album wake up call. Lyrically, the album is based in narrative and notably
self-conscious; “Space for us to shake in here like this
tune” At times, this can seem prosaic, even stilted, but it
sits well as a neat contrast with the dreamy quality of the
music. One of the standout tracks of this record is definitely its
finale, ‘The Build Up’, with guest vocals by Leslie
Feist, whose voice, strong but resonating with the warmth of such
emotionally powerful artists as Jeff Buckley, soars over the
simple instrumental. With her debut release Let it Die, the climax of her already
rich musical history, out in the UK from 28 June, Feist is
definitely worth keeping an eye on. All in all, this album may not be entirely what you’re
used to listening to. Saying that, however, it’s well worth
a listen and would certainly make a great soundtrack to some slow
motion summer sun.ARCHIVE: 5th week TT 2004